16 February 2008

CEO Stewardship, Mormon Style (part I)

Growing up my parents made it a point to support businesses that closed shop on Sunday. In that same light, I would like to promote those businesses that are making a difference in the world by how they treat the environment. Not only should we be familiar with these companies, we should do our best to support them, thereby encouraging others to follow suit.

It’s true that corporations often get a lot of criticism, but many, as I’ve found, take seriously their stewardship and are quite responsible when it comes to the environment. Some are better than others, obviously, but here are eight corporations that are striving to lessen their impact on the environment. Most claims to LDS connections were taken from http://famousmormons.net/.

EarthShell – Owings Mills, Maryland
CEO Simon K Hodson (retired)

Environmental Policy
"Designed from the ground up with the environment in mind, EarthShell answers the growing demand for a green solution to paper, plastic and foam. EarthShell is made in the USA using starch from renewable potatoes and corn, mixed with abundant limestone. This revolutionary, patented technology delivers the hard-to-find combination of convenience, quality and environmental responsibility. The new packaging poses substantially fewer risks to wildlife than polystyrene foam packaging because it biodegrades when exposed to moisture in nature, physically disintegrates in water when crushed or broken, and can be composted in a commercial facility (where available) or in the backyard. In addition, the company has recently introduced flexible packaging in the form of sandwich wraps that have also been developed using a ‘life cycle inventory’. Like EarthShell's rigid packaging, the wraps also biodegrade when exposed to moisture and bacteria in nature and can be composted."

Black & Decker – Towson, Maryland
CEO Nolan D Archibald

Environmental Policy
"We recognize that a healthy environment is integral to the long-term sustainability of Black & Decker. Therefore, we are committed to reducing the impact of our business on the environment. We go beyond compliance with laws in areas such as battery recycling, product packaging, purchasing and manufacturing practices. Reducing waste and energy usage serves the dual purpose of helping the environment and lowering our costs. Our customers are increasingly interested in the environmental aspects of our products, and we will continue to innovate by utilizing design-for-environment principles in research and development." Additionally, here is a lot of good information on steps the company is taking including environmental management, monitoring, product materials & packaging, and waste, emissions and energy use.

AES Corporation – Arlington, Virginia
CEO Roger W Sant (emeritus)
The AES Corporation is one of the world’s largest global power companies operating in 27 different countries on 5 continents. The corporation provides up to 100 million people around the world with power and generates up to 44,000 watts of electricity. Mr. Sant is an environmentalist and under his leadership the AES Corporation sponsored the planting of 50 million trees and helped to preserve the rainforest of South America…He currently serves on the board of directors for the World Wildlife Fund and the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation. (source)

Environmental Policy
"A safe and reliable supply of electricity is a prerequisite for economic development, security and public welfare—and we take this responsibility seriously. We track and seek to continuously improve the safety and environmental performance of each AES business. Our renewable energy portfolio keeps expanding, too, which is an outcome of our commitment to use the world’s resources wisely."

"Throughout his career, Sant has been at the forefront in the efficient and economical development of energy resources and in promoting increased global awareness through his tireless efforts to publicize and address concerns on energy utilization, environmental conservation and wildlife protection." (source)

Roger Sant has authored several books on the environment:
-After Kyoto : Are There Rational Pathways to a Sustainable Global Energy System?
-Creating Abundance: America's Least-Cost Energy Strategy

"My original notions about social responsibility arose because I had seen a lot of environmental irresponsibility. I headed up the energy conservation program at the Federal Energy Administration from 1974 to 1976. It was there that I came to believe that people couldn’t keep doing unsustainable things—in terms of pollution, mainly…Companies could handle social responsibility in an integrative way, not tack it on at the end of their thinking about operations, like some kind of afterthought. That is, business could build social responsibility into its values and practices." Roger Sant in ‘Organizing for Empowerment: An Interview with AES’s Roger Sant and Dennis Bakke’ (from the book ‘Interviews with CEO’s, Harvard Business Review’, page 59-60)

Headwaters, Inc – South Jordan, Utah
CEO Kirk A Benson

Environmental Policy
"Creating value through innovative advancements in stewardship of natural resources throughout the world. Headwaters Energy Services is the largest provider of technology and chemical reagents to the coal-based synthetic fuels industry. The company is using its engineered fuels expertise to develop new opportunities in the burgeoning clean coal marketplace. Headwaters Resources is America’s largest manager and marketer of coal combustion products, including fly ash. Utilization of these materials improves performance of building products while creating significant environmental benefits. Headwaters Construction Materials is a market leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing architectural stone veneer under the Eldorado Stone brand and also holds regional market leadership positions in manufacturing and marketing concrete blocks and brick. HCM also developed innovative FlexCrete aerated concrete."

Knight Transportation – Phoenix, Arizona
CEO Kevin Knight
Knight Transportation, Inc. is a truckload carrier offering dry van, refrigerated, and brokerage services to customers through a growing network of 36 service centers located throughout the United States.

Environmental Policy
"As a SmartWay partner, Knight Transportation continues its longstanding commitment to the efficient use of our nation’s energy resources. This commitment is illustrated through a strong company culture of fuel economy management, coupled with a constant search for cost-effective, fuel saving technologies. Knight has also illustrated national leadership and environmental commitment by being at the forefront in testing and implementing clean burning, low emissions engines throughout its fleet. These efforts, combined with extensive Driving Associate training, investment in idle reduction technologies, equipment specification optimization, and tire pressure management are all key to Knight’s business plan."

Marriott International – Washington DC
CEO Bill Marriott
Bill is also a member of Sixth Quorum of Seventy in LDS Church, and a Director of the National Geographic Society, which promotes environmental conservation. So the environment has a friend in this General Authority promoting sustainability. Additionally, Bill Marriott has a blog with several posts that deal with the greening of Marriott.

Environmental Policy
"Marriott’s Environmentally Conscious Hospitality Operations program (ECHO) focuses on water and energy conservation, clean air initiatives, wildlife preservation, 'reduce-reuse-recycle' waste management, and clean-up campaigns. Marriott is the first hospitality management company to join the EPA's Climate Leaders program and is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by nearly one-fifth over the ten year period from 2000 to 2010--approaching one million tons of climate warming gases. In January, the company announced that it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 70,000 tons in one year – the equivalent of removing 10,000 cars from the road."

Areas in which Marriott is making a difference include:
-‘Re-Lamp’ campaign to save 65% on lighting costs
-Linen Reuse program to save 17% on water bills
-Smoke-free policy to improve indoor air quality
‘Ozone Activated Laundry’ which saves 25% of energy in laundry systems
-Outdoor sign replacement program, switching to LED and fiber optics, saving 40% in one year
-Replacing 400,000 shower heads to reduce water use by 10%
-Appointing three Regional Directors of Energy and a LEED AP architect (first Marriott LEED-certified hotel is The Inn & Conference Center in Adelphi, Maryland).

Huntsman – Salt Lake City, Utah
CEO, Peter Huntsman
Huntsman is one of the worlds largest chemical companies. Its operating companies manufacture products for a variety of global industries, including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging.

Environmental Policy
"At Huntsman, we are dedicated to sustainable chemistry, with a strategic business unit wholly devoted to working closely with our research and development professionals across our company in our ongoing effort to identify new opportunities to use our expertise to help address the world's most pressing environmental needs. Increasingly, we believe our feedstocks for making differentiated chemicals will come from bio-based sources…Renewable fuel technologies are rapidly emerging and we constantly scan the renewable space for potential raw materials. In addition, we are evaluating feedstocks from the agriculture industry to make new and novel bio-based products."

"To foster the development of an energy-conscious culture, an Energy Management Initiative has been deployed at our manufacturing facilities. We have created a baseline for our historical energy usage, benchmarked this usage across the industry and within our company, and are challenging our plants to cut energy usage by 10%." (source) Additionally, they have a 44-page annual Environment, Health and Safety Report, including a five year improvement plan, reports on air emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, discharges to water, generation of waste, and environmental accomplishments.

Avista Corp – Spokane, Washington
CEO Gary Ely (retired 31 Dec 2007)
Avista is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista is considered one of the premier operators of hydroelectric facilities in the nation, with eight hydroelectric plants on two rivers.

Environmental Policy
"Avista Corp. and all of its enterprises will conduct business in an environmentally responsible manner. We contribute to natural and cultural resource stewardship by cooperating with others to employ sound management practices for those resources affected by our facilities or our operations. We recycle when possible and we ensure the safe handling and disposal of waste. We minimize the amount and toxicity of waste generated. We strive to prevent releases of hazardous materials into the environment by developing and implementing hazardous materials management plans." Additionally, Avista reports saving $65,000-$70,000 a year in refuse disposal costs from their recycling efforts.

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